WISCONSIN RESIDENTS BRACE FOR ONSLAUGHT OF ELECTION ACTIVITY

A Dane County judge has approved an agreement setting recall election dates of May 8th and June 5th for Governor Scott Walker, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state senators. Under the agreement, any required primaries would be held May 8 with a general election four weeks later on June 5. Meanwhile, the 2011-12 Legislative session officially ended on March 16th.This signals the serious beginning of the campaign season. All 99 Assembly seats and 16 Senate seats (those in even numbered districts) were already scheduled to be on the fall ballot. One Senator facing recall, Senator Pam Galloway, has resigned for personal reasons. However the recall election against her will still take place to pick her replacement. In addition to Senator Galloway, a number of other legislators in both houses have announced their retirement or intention to seek other offices.

Those retiring include:

• Rep. Barbara Toles of the 17th District.
• Rep. Mark Radcliffe of the 92nd District.
• Rep. Dick Spanbauer of the 53rd District.
• Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer of the 25th District.
• Rep. Dan Meyer of the 34th District.
• Rep. Michelle Litjens of the 56th District.
• Rep. Karl Van Roy of the 90th District.
• Senator Jim Holperin of the 12th District.

Those seeking another office include:

• Rep. Donna Seidel of the 85th District and Rep. Jerry Petrowski of the 86th District to run in the recall election for
the Galloway seat.

• Rep. Tom Tiffany of the 35th District is expected to announce his bid at Senator Jim Holperin’s open 12th District Senate seat.

• Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald of the 39th District to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Herb Kohl.

• Reps. Kelda Helen Roys of the 81st District and Mark Pocan of the 78th District to run for the 2nd Congressional
District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin.

• Senators Spencer Coggs of the District and Tim Carpenter of the District to run for Milwaukee City Treasurer.

• Senator Kathleen Vinehout of the 31st District to run against Gov. Walker in the recall election. The 31st District seat
is not up for election this year, so should her run for Governor be unsuccessful, she would retain her current seat.

AARP POSITION ON UTILITY ISSUES PROVES DISAPPOINTING ONCE AGAIN

AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, has been missing in action in the fight to keep dividend taxes from rising. Now they’re attacking electric utilities which must raise rates because of higher fuel costs. People who rely on a lifetime of investment to finance their own retirement must consider two things:

 Allowable Return on Investment – The private companies in which they invest must have a fighting chance to make a profit in order to pay a dividend and maintain a healthy stock price. A company must make money to pay out money in dividends. That’s why WUI works to ensure fairness in Wisconsin utility rate setting.

 Fair Taxes on Dividend Income – Most retirement dollars are invested for the long term to produce the kind of dividend that can pay the rent during retirement. That invested money was already taxed when it came home in a paycheck. Taxing the portion of income needed to keep up with inflation over those years as income a second time is doubly unfair.

So when WUI and others were telling Congress how raising the dividend tax from 15 percent to as much as 39.6 percent would hurt retired investors, how much help did they get from AARP? The answer is none. Now AARP has started a blanket campaign against “unfair” utility rate increases. Rather than examine each proposal to determine whether the company is merely recovering costs caused by more expensive fuel and environmental compliance, they are calling for general opposition. An organization that claims to represent retired persons needs to care enough about retirement income to be up front about who will pay for higher energy costs. If energy users don’t bear the cost of the energy they use, the shareholders will. That means lower dividends. And lower dividends mean lower incomes for many retired persons. Seventy one percent of WUI members are retired people who rely on the dividends that can only come from companies allowed to make a fair profit. We will continue fighting to maintain the incomes our members have saved for and rely upon. We would welcome AARP to help us represent these retired persons as well.

by Robert Seitz, Executive Director, Wisconsin Utilities Investors

United States Sites Two Nuclear Power Plants…

…in India.  Why is it acceptable for United States companies to build $40 billion worth of clean, safe, efficient nuclear energy in India but not Wisconsin?  Because Wisconsin bans new nuclear plants like those we will build for India, we currently have no viable option, other than coal, for the new base-load energy required for economic growth.

“Base-load” power is running all the time.  It’s the reliable, consistent energy we need to run the hospitals, factories, farms and offices when the wind isn’t blowing, the sun isn’t shining and when natural gas is needed to heat our homes.

Regarding the Indian plan, The London Telegraph explains:

” India is desperate to increase its power generating capacity to fuel its growing economy.”

With proposed federal Cap and Trade legislation written to make energy in coal dependent states much more expensive and an outdated nuclear moratorium preventing new nuclear plants, Wisconsin has fewer option to compete than we are giving India.

When India has clean, efficient, safe and reliable American built nuclear plants and Wisconsin has new regulatory costs for our coal generated base-load power, where will our jobs go?

The answer is not to stop India from having access to nuclear energy.  The answer is to ensure Wisconsin has the same options for nuclear power that India has.  We must overturn the Wisconsin Nuclear Moratorium.

MGE Issues June Report

Madison Gas & Electric has issued its June report which includes some staggering company facts, including:

  • Raised its dividend for 33 consecutive years.
  • One of just 97 companies to raise its dividend for 30 or more years.
  • Paid dividends for 100 years in a row.
  • Through the end of 2008 , the company has paid a total of $647 million in dividends since 1909.

These are some assuring facts in a troubled economy for utility industry investors.